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America 10, Clinton 8, Us 6, Mark Halperin 5, John Heilemann 5, Rick Santorum 4, New Hampshire 3, Iowa 3, Palin 3, Halperin 3, United States 3, Mccain 3, Obama 3, Washington 3, Hillary Clinton 3, Sarah Palin 2, Pelosi 2, George Bush 2, Narrative 2, Boston 2,
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  CSPAN    [untitled]  

    March 6, 2012
    1:00 - 1:30pm EST  

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it was a youtube question that was asked, give me an example, a recent example, of how you felt the pinch of this economy. in other words, tell me how you've walked in my shoes, not 30 years ago but right now. how hard is it for you to balance your budget at home? how difficult is it for you to pay for your kids' education? do you worry about the same things i worry about? i watched as every one of those candidates talked about what it was like when they lived in the 1950s, growing up. mom, we lived above a shoe store in a two-bedroom. okay. that's great. but now today you are a very successful person. i just lost my job. relate to me and tell me you understand what my pain is like. tell me you believe this will get better for me and how you will have a hand in that and
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they couldn't answer the question. and that's the piece for the gop, in my estimation, that's missing. it's there. we've elected these individuals. a lot of them in congress right now, a lot are governors of the state. chris christie identifies with that walk. the guy who is trying to make it happen. rick santorum comes very close when he talks about the wear and tear on his grandfather's hands. as a young boy grabbing that hand and knowing and appreciating now what that meant for him running for president of the united states. that's the kind of connection that's going to move this noconee. that's the kind of connection i think the country isoing to you obama, that people -- while the flowery rhetoric is great. he sounds good. still not feeling it. but they don't have anything else to compare it to, so obama gets the benefit right now.
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if our nominee comes out of this process with that passion, that sense of walking barefoot with america, feeling the earth beneath their feet, that walk, that painful walk for a lot of people, man, i think this is going to be one heck of a ride this november. we have a great chance to do something that right now a lot of people don't think can be done. that is to go into a leadership structure where we have the white house, the senate and the congress, then the real test of our ideas will begin. >> let's compare that to also this past weekend with an eye on ohio, the all important primary tomorrow. this is rick santorum. >> in 2008 our elections were determined by a candidate who went out and promised that he could solve the problems that
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confronted america. all you had to do was trust him. he was able to take on the problems that confronted us in this economic crisis we were in. if you trusted him, he could turn america around. sometimes that happens in times of crisis. leaders come along and we tend to think maybe they can do things for us. but americans are now a little more sober, understand what's happened. they now realize what we need is not a president who we can believe in. we need a president who believes in you. >> to your earlier point. >> that's the passion. that's the narrative. note something interesting about that. last week obama at the uaw convention, or the speech before
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the uaw, what did he say? he said i did what i did because i believe in you. that is a very powerful connection, transcends the politics. gets through the little black box there and really draws people in. rick santorum in his tone, his pacing, his sort of almost like welling up inside, he could feel what he was saying so much translates that out to the american people and goes beyond the folks sitting in front of him. where he's tripping and stumbling is that the narrative about him is focused on an antiquated view of the role of women in society or how you feel about contraception or another thing that really isn't rick. if you look at the story line in particularly his marriage, his wife very much a professional woman, very well accomplished. so all the narrative about him being oh, he wants to keep them
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barefoot and pregnant is just bs. but because of how he's expressed it when he gets beyond moments like that, it comes off in a negative way. he needs to fix that. he needs to pivot that into something that's consistent with what you just heard. if he does that, then he has a chance -- and i said this before. the left needs to be careful what they wish for if rick santorum is, in fact, the nominee. a lot of what he says resonates with people much more than folks want to give them credit for. so that's what he's hoping to get beyond the confines of the battle with romney to take at another level that's a bigger level. if he does that, again, could be an interesting race in november. >> which is why tomorrow is lector, we'll turn to you for a final comment or thought. >> key to election rhetoric is a candidate has to say in some
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way, my story is america's story. my pain is america's pain. my hopes are america's hopes. my sucked as an individual mirrors our success as a nation. i can lead us to greater successes. this wasn't always the case. john kennedy didn't show he felt america's pain the way bill clinton did. eisenhower certainly didn't do this. this started in the '70s after the cynicism and anxiety of the '60s ending in watergate, jimmy carter came along and said i want a government that's as good and honest as the american people. by the way, as i am. ronald reagan did it as a president. barack obama did it wonderfully connecting his personal story through his biography. that's something mitt romney doesn't yet have. i think if he doesn't get it, he doesn't become president. >> very well said. i think that's been the whole rub here.
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you've got to get the american people to the point they like you enough to forgive you for some of the crazy things about your policies that they can't like or may not be able to stomach but they like you. that's been shown time and time again with president obama. whether it's health care -- look 2010 wholesale rejection of the president's health care plan. that's all i ran on. the direction we were pushing rnc, pushing our candidates, about you want to control, get this government back, start by firing pelosi. we set the narrati that's what we drove. it was all about the health care policies pushed through congress that forced us down to a situation where the government is going to be mandating health care. that was the bottom line narrative. if you don't have that kind of narrative working for you, then the reality becomes something else. it comes your inability to communicate your ability to resonate and focus on things you
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don't want voters to necessary focus on. that's what the opponents exploit. obama has been very successful at least in this part of the cycle in keeping the focus away from the shortcomings of his administration and focus more on his opponents. to the professor's point about looking at a romney's inability to really kind of make that argument that draws you in, which serves obama best right now. >> contributor on msnbc and nbc news, former chair of the republican national committee, former lieutenant governor in the state of maryland, michael steele. >> thank you. >> on behalf of george mason university and the washington center, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. thank you all. [ applause ] >> watch super tuesday election results tonight on the c-span networks. while you watch use second screen web page with tablet or
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computer to see maps, social media from candidates and reporter and a public forum for tweets and those of other viewers. you can also monitor our mentioned on c-span blog where we'll be posting super tuesday programming information and news stories. use a laptop or tablet to extend viewing on the brand-new web page made especially for super tuesday coverage. c-span.org/screen2. looking at 2013 budget request for u.s. aid. agency administrator testifies. u.s. aid is asking for $52 billion, an increase of a little more than 1.5%. the hearing begins at 2:30 eastern. on this super tuesday we're going to look back at the 2008 campaign with an interview with mark halperin and john heilemann co-authors of the book "the game
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change, obama, clinton, palin and the race of a lifetime." an upcoming hbo movie is based on the book. the interview is about an hour. >> we can't win without onour base. lieberman is the right thing to do but the wrong way to win. >> who have we vetted. >> romney, pelosi, trying to vet bloomberg. >> who can we win with. >> none of them. >> obama changed the entire dynamic. >> it is a changed year, sir. we desperately need a game changing pick. none of these middle aged white guys are game changers. >> from the new hbo movie based on the book "game change, obama and clintons, mccain and palin, the race of a lifetime. co-written by john heilemann and mark halperin. inside the book they said the plan was for mccain to shock the world with his vice presidential
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pick. mccain's core conviction was that mccain vp choice had to be a game changer. joining us from new york, thank you for being with us on c-span. >> great to be with you, steve. >> hi, steve. >> mark halperin, let me start with you. why four years later are people talking and writing about the toile campaign and now your book turned into an hbo film? >> well, i think several reasons. the main one being it was, as we say in the subtitle of the book, the race of a lifetime. you had lots of bigger than life candidates and candidate's spouses competing for a race, open seat in the white house with the kind of plot twists and turns if you brought to hollywood as fiction, they would throw you out and say this is too implausible. i can list them off, selection of sarah palin, role of the former president as a campaign spouse of bill clinton, the story of john mccain's collapse and comeback and john and elizabeth edwards and their extraordinary role only revealed far after the fact about what
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was going on with him in their lives as he was running for president and making a strong play to be the democratic nominee. >> and john heilemann, your take on this new hbo film people will be talking about the race four years ago. >> well, we were then just thrilled to work with hbo on this. they have an incredibly high standard they bring to all the work they do, whether it's episodic or movies they make. mark and i were honored and gratified when they bought the option to do the book. we knew there was going to have to be some choices made. it's a big book, 500 pages, a big campaign. if you didn't want to sit down and do a miniseries, you were going to have to pick a story line. jay roach the director, and his writing partner who worked with him on recount were attracted to the palin story. it's an incredible american story about this woman who was for most of her political career
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smalltown mayor and only governor for 18 months before she was snatched out of obscurity and put on the republican ticket in the most pressure filled environment with the brightest spotlight you can imagine. what was that like at the human level, what the decisions were that went into making the choice and what the ramifications are. they were attracted to that story. you could say a lot about what it's like to be a politician in the celebrity culture we live in and what the mechanics are of how these things go down in the back rooms. that's stuff mark and i were attracted to. when they were seizing on that story as the story to do from the book, we said, yeah, that's great. they have done an incredible job doing it, the performances. everyone will see how spectacular. >> we're going to dig into the substance of the book. mark halperin let me ask you how the idea of the book came about before the 2008 campaign, when the two of you decided to collaborate and how you have
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applied lessons from 2008 to your current work in the 2012 campaign. >> well, we were coming back from annapolis from senator mccain i was doing an event on his biography tour. this was a pretty good idea about what he should do with his time after he won the nomination in a defact oshs way mike huckabee and mitt romney getting out. hillary clinton and barack obama were still very much contending in the spring of 2008 for the democratic nomination. it was a great idea to go on this biography, visit all the places he had been, lived in the united states and try to associate some sort of theme with them. the execution was pretty bad for most of it, including an event in annapolis where he spoke at the naval academy at the football stadium, an incredibly windy day. i won't go into the details. it wasn't the best executed event i've ever seen. we parked, i was doing something with v-span that day. we parked in front of c-span.
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your loyal viewers will be delighted to hear the game change was born right there on north capital street. right, it's north capital street. >> it is. >> in front of c-span as we sat and talked. what we said to ourselves initially was not about a book. it was, in fact, about a movie. if you look at the characters here and how cinematic, in the spring well before sarah palin, well before the financial crisis, there's just so much here. someone should make a movie about it. we talked about various ways of trying to do the story of the campaign. every political reporter who covers these presidential campaigns, whether a great one or less good one says to themselves maybe i can get a book contract out of this. it's very hard, though, to publish political books. we talked about how could we successfully write and publish a political book in the climate where there's so much news. what we said was there's so much about the campaign we don't know. we were covering it every day, reading all of our colleagues's work. we didn't know the answer to
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bake question, what role did hillary clinton play in barack obama's campaign, how did barack obama decide he could run for president and make a credible effort to beat hillary clinton, lots of questions like that we didn't know answers to. what if we went back, almost as archaeologists tried to figure out what had actually happened. before too long we take in that original conversation, shaped it a little bit. what we ended up writing was very close to the idea we had on that day originally. we're basically doing the same thing for the next cycle, for this cycle. there's no reason to tamper with a formula that readers seem to like and that we think is a great way to tell the story of a campaign that people are focused on minutely this time as they were last time. again, to try to go back and tell the story through the eyes of the people involved in a way that maybe is impossible to do in daily, weekly or monthly journalism. >> what we have done is gone back through your book and selected a couple of quotes and
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some accompanying moments that maybe best reflect what happened with that campaign. let's begin with the announcement, senator obama leading up to the announcement, you write colin powell had his questions for senator obama but the main one was why now? i think i might have been what the country needs today, the senator responded. i think it might be my time. >> for the past six years, we've been told our mounting debts don't matter. we've been told the anxiety americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion. we've been told climate change is a hoax. we've been told the tough talk and ill conceived war can replace diplomacy, strategy and foresight. when all else fails, when katrina happens or the death toll in iraq mounts, we've been told our crisis are somebody else's fault. we're distracted from our real failures and told to blame the other party or gay people or
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immigrants. and as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void, the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests, who have turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. they write the checks and you get stuck with the bill. they get the access while you get to write a letter. they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. the time for that kind of politic is over. it's through. it's time to turn the page right here and right now. >> john heilemann, as you indicated in the book, it wasn't a foregone conclusion despite his success in boston in 2004 that barack obama would run in 2008. >> not at all. he was inclined not to run in
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2008. certainly his wife michelle was very much against the idea at first. the thing that you read there, steve, from his conversation with colin powell, that theme, the notion that this could be his time to run, and there is a time for a candidate, a right time, was something that was really influential to barack obama. he was hearing it from a lot of people. you know, the conventional thinking about running for president would be, look, you've only been in the senate for a couple of years. you don't have enough of a resume. you haven't done enough. you need to wait your turn, wait around, get more experience and so on. what obama kept hearing from senior democrats all throughout the senate and others was that that actually in the new era might not be true. that old rule might need to be thrown away. if he stuck around the senate for a long time he would be labored and weighed down on positions he took on controversial matters. he was a fresh face. the country was sick of the clintons and sick of the bushes and wanted to see something new.
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for that reason, coming out of that incredible star-making tour in boston and coming out of the 2006 election cycle where he raised an incredible amount of money and been a superstar on the fund-raising circuit for democrats all across the country, he had the magic thing, the lightning in the bottle. it would be a foolish mistake for him not to recognize so much of success in presidential politics is in timing. it was in the end more than anything, a lot of factors but that thinking if he didn't go in 2008 he might never get the opportunity. that was more null than anything else on his opportunity to get in. >> in the spring and fall barack obama lagging in many polls. many expecting hillary clinton was at that point the clear front-runner according to surveys in a couple of key states including new hampshire and iowa. there was this moment mark halperin you outline in the book. the plan was not set the following month with reference to 2008, 2007, senator obama
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would be appearing with all candidates in des moines iowa. that would be the perfect place to unfurl the new strategy in ernest. >> we have a chance to bring the country together in a new majority, to finally tackle problems that george bush made far worse but that had festered long before george bush ever took office. problems that we've talked about year after year after year after year. and that is why the same old washington textbook campaigns just won't do in this election. that's why -- that's why not answering questions, because we're afraid our answers won't be popular just won't do.
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that's why -- that's why telling the american people what we think they want to hear, instead of telling the american people what they need to hear just won't do. triangulating and poll-driven positions because we're worried about what mitt or rudy might say about us just won't do. if we are really serious about winning this election, democrats, then we can't live in fear of losing it. this party, the party of jefferson and jackson of roosevelt and kennedy has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the american people
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when we led not by polls but by principle. not by calculation but by conviction. when we summoned the entire nation to a common purpose, a higher purpose. and i run for the presidency of the united states of america because that is the party that america needs us to be right now. >> from november of 2007, and mark halperin as you write in great length, this was a turning point for this democratic race. why? >> because up until that point, although barack obama had gotten into the race in feb with a lot of excitement. he had not been that great a candidate. he hadn't shown he could break
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after from hillary clinton and john edwards. in 2008 it was a real showcase and opportunity for a candidate to shine. hillary clinton's speech that night was pretty good i thought. you saw in that clip and as we write in the book, even some clinton supporters from the dinner, barack obama's speech was a lot better and reframed the race. introduced to the most prominent to date this theme, mostly implicit, that the clinton years had flaws in them that democrats shouldn't want to go back to. the same old washington operation personified for a lot of even democrats by the clinton years was something the country didn't want and shouldn't turn to. >> i'm not sure if you can reveal sources now that the book is out, mark halperin how did you go about getting the inside story on that speech and how barack obama rehearsed and prepared for it? >> by talking to the people involved and familiar with what happened. we don't reveal the sources now. as we did throughout the book, we were meticulous talking to
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people involved in a given situation, everywhere involved when possible and made sure we had documentation, hand-written notes, et cetera, to paint the speech and how hillary clinton approached her speech at the dinner are pretty interesting tale and a good microcosm to how the campaigns operated, how the candidates operated in dealing with the "titanic" clash between them. >> let me go to the new hampshire primary, yet another turning point in the race in 2008, a race hillary clinton won it narrowly. in the book you wrote when it was over, hillary marched down a hallway back stage with her husband and chelsea at her side. she looked like a quarterback who just completed a hail mary pass in overtime. >> i come tonight with a very, very full heart. i want -- i want especially to
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thank new hampshire over the last week, i listened to you. in the process i found my own voice. [ applause ] >> i felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and i'm so gratified that you responded. together let's give america the kind of comeback that new hampshire has just given me. >> john heilemann, just a little bit of a narrative on that day, that moment with hillary clinton's win, what you were sensing in new hampshire leading up to her victory and how it also become important to the obama campaign in 2008.
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>> you remember, steve, after obama won in iowa, everyone in the national press, both campaigns, except hillary clinton and her husband, they looked at new hampshire as the day barack obama was going to seal the democratic nomination. he was going to win new hampshire on the basis of his momentum. independent voters could vote there. that was seen as a big strength for him. he had the wind at his back. the polling showed going into new hampshire that it should have been an easy win for obama. but he decided to campaign in a very different way there than he had in iowa. he got kind of disconnected from human beings on the ground and voters. she got down closer to the voters. do you remember those couple of moments, one in the debate when barack obama made the kind of icy cold comment about how she was likable enough and her incredible moment in the diner a couple days later when she broke down slightly and teared up and showed a side of herself that a
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lot of democratic voters had been longing to see and hadn't seen for most of the past year, this very human, very approachable side. one of the things we talk about in the book is how the obama campaign, many people, including hillary herself, who thought it was kind of in the immediate moment thought that was kind of a disaster that she had had an ed muskie moment where she had shown weakness and that would be the end of her campaign in new hampshire. the obama campaign looked at that and thought, this is a problem. that's the humanity we've not seen in hillary clinton in the last year. they saw it immediately as something that could change the momentum dramatically and that's what happened. even leading up to the very day of the primary vote, most reporters on the ground still thought barack obama was going to win that primary. the people around barack obama thought he was going to win the primary. even the people around hillary clinton thought that. the only exceptions to that rule really were bill clinton and hillary clinton as they were campaigning over the course of the last 72 hours they felt like they could feel something shifting in the electorate. bill clinton new politics in the
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electorate better than in place on the planet. everywhere they went he felt the tide turning. they were the only ones who d when she won that victory. she bounced out of new hampshire with one of the most remarkable comebacks anybody has seen in le at that point -- it would change shortly but people thought hillary clinton is on the way to restoring, put together her place as front-runner. as you know things got a lot more complicated after that. >> mark halperin maybe with mitt romney's february win in michigan a parallel to what barack obama faced two months after hillary clinton winning the primary essentially clenching the nomination. having dodged bullet after bullet, mccain clinched his party's nomination march 4th, including one of the greatest political comebacks in modern american history. here is my question with a direct relation to theo

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